Online scammers may have just won for themselves the distinction of being the most depraved people on Earth.
Hackers who were trying to take advantage of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash have reportedly set up fake accounts that lead to spam links.
According to a report from the Sydney Morning Herald, there are at least six Facebook pages that have been set up under the names of victims of the plane crash. The pages are said to contain a link to a blog, which appears to have additional information about the incident.
However, when users click the link, they are redirected to pop-up ads that sell shady products and services. The links mostly advertised gambling and dubious get-rich-quick schemes. However, there were some that led to pornographic websites.
The fake Facebook accounts are said to have further traumatized the families of the victims. One of the people targeted by the scammers was Liliane Derden, an Australian who died in the crash. Carly Taylor, a friend of Derden, told the Herald that grieving friends had already notified the family about the fake Facebook page. The family has chosen to delete her account to prevent any confusion.
"We're a little bit worried we don't know who's out there doing it and we'd prefer that they know the truth and people aren't giving to charities or whatever the people are proposing to be," Taylor said.
The scammers also made fake accounts for three Australian children who died in the crash. Pages were set up for the Maslin siblings Mo (12 years old), Evie (10 years old) and Otis (8years old). The three children were returning from a vacation in Amsterdam with their grandfather to catch the start of their school term. The parents of the children chose to stay longer in Europe and was booked for a flight a few days after.
Facebook has since taken down the pages. In an interview with the Independent, the company said that they disabled the profiles as soon as they were flagged by users. They also called on people to report suspicious behavior so that they can take appropriate action.